Businesses allowed to re-open in Eastern WA county defying Gov. Inslee order

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, protesters gathered on the Capitol steps in Olympia, Wash. to rally against Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-home orders on Sunday April 19, 2020. Washington State Patrol estimated the crowd at over 2000 people. (KOMO News photo)

Franklin County Commissioners voted 3-0 today to allow businesses to re-open in a move that openly defies the statewide 'stay home, stay healthy' order by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. It is the first known decision by an elected body in Washington to re-open sectors of the economy as Gov. Inslee has resisted suggestions to re-open some sectors of the job market.

Commissioner Clint Didier told KVI today that agricultural crops, like potatoes, are harvested but can't be moved because of the statewide restriction. Didier led a motion at today's Commissioners meeting that resulted in the unanimous vote for Franklin County which is largely rural and encompasses the county seat in Pasco which is part of the Tri-cities region with Kennewick and Richland.

Didier told KVI he wants the businesses to re-open safely in an effort to preclude any virus spread. The Franklin County Commission vote comes two days after a crowd estimated at 2500 by Washington State Patrol protested vigorously at the Olympia Capitol Campus in an effort to show Gov. Inslee they believe its time to lift 'stay home' restrictions that are limiting employment and the economy.

Unemployment claims via the Washington Employment Security Department have flooded the agency's website frustrating out of work people trying to complete the digital paperwork to qualify for benefits.

In a Facebook post about today's vote, Didier called the Governor's statewide order unconstitutional, although no court ruling has been made about Inslee extending his 'stay home' order until May 4th. When asked to explain his conclusion about constitutionality, Didier told KVI he has a lawyer, Stephen Pidgeon, who intends to file a court motion against Inslee's statewide order this week to challenge the state constitutionality limiting which jobs are deemed 'essential'.

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